This morning during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reminded those gathered of the bishop’s two required jobs: praying and proclaiming the Gospel, and warned that if these tasks are neglected, God’s people suffer.
According to Vatican Radio, the Pontiff drew inspiration from today’s Gospel of Mark which recalls Jesus’ choosing the 12 Apostles, and how, today, the “bishops are pillars of the Church,” called to be witnesses of the Resurrection of Jesus.
“We bishops have this responsibility to be witnesses: witnesses to the fact that the Lord Jesus is alive, that the Lord Jesus is risen, that the Lord Jesus walks with us, that the Lord Jesus saves us, that the Lord Jesus gave his life for us, that the Lord Jesus is our hope, that the Lord Jesus always welcomes us and forgives us. Giving witness. Our life must be this: a testimony. True witness to the Resurrection of Christ.”
2 Jobs of a Bishop
The first task of a bishop, the Pontiff stressed, is to be with Jesus in prayer, “not to prepare pastoral plans … no, no! Prayer: this is the first task.”
The second task, he continued, is to be a witness, which means preaching the salvation that the Lord Jesus has brought.
“Two tasks that are not easy, but it is precisely these two tasks that are the strong pillars of the Church. If these columns are weakened because the bishop does not pray or prays little, forgets to pray; or because the bishop does not announce the Gospel and instead takes care of other things, the Church also weakens; it suffers. God’s people suffer. Because the columns are weak. ”
“The Church without the bishop doesn’t work,” said the Pope. Therefore, we must all pray for our bishops, he concluded, as an “obligation of love, an obligation of children in reverence to the Father, an obligation of brothers so that the family remains united in its witness to Jesus Christ, living and risen.”
With your heart, pray for your bishop
The Holy Father went on to invite faithful to pray for “us bishops, because we too are sinners; we too have weaknesses.”
“In every Mass, we pray for the bishops,” the Pope recalled. “We pray for Peter, the head of the college of bishops, and we pray for our local bishop. But this is not enough: we say the name, and many times we say it out of habit, and then we go on. Pray for the bishop with your heart!”
Pope Francis concluded, saying,”Ask the Lord: Lord, take care of my bishop; take care of all the bishops, and send us bishops who are true witnesses – bishops who pray and bishops who help us through their preaching to understand the Gospel, so that we may trust that you, Lord, are alive and that you’re with us.”